Today’s Question: What is the main philosophy of Christianity?


Question:
What is the main philosophy of Christianity?

Answer: Redemption from perpetual slavery to Satan, sin and death, through the grace and merits of Jesus Christ, true man and true God.

Do Catholics believe in salvation by works?

Question: Do Catholics believe in salvation by works?

Answer: It would be a serious mistake for anyone to confuse the concept of divine justification with the concept/purpose of condign merit.

Nobody can “force” God to invite them into Heaven, by any means (works).

Anyone who is invited into Heaven (justified) gets there only by the timely and merciful application of the saving grace that Jesus obtained for us by his life, death and resurrection. That remains a free gift of God – for Catholics and everybody else.

Grace gets us into Heaven, but only if Jesus alone, judges it to be both sufficient and appropriate. That’s how we are justified.

Merit is the way we attempt to quantify/measure the incorruptible treasures that Jesus told us to store up in Heaven, by our good works, accomplished in his name, in hopeful anticipation of that great day.

8 Things You Need to Know About the Immaculate Conception

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This Saturday, December 8th, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It celebrates an important point of Catholic teaching, and it is a holy day of obligation.

Here are 8 things you need to know about the teaching and the way we celebrate it.

1. Who does the Immaculate Conception refer to?

There’s a popular idea that it refers to Jesus’ conception by the Virgin Mary.

It doesn’t.

Instead, it refers to the special way in which the Virgin Mary herself was conceived.

This conception was not virginal. (That is, she had a human father as well as a human mother.) But it was special and unique in another way. . . .

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Merit

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Liberal Catholic nonsense that’s become commonly accepted by clergy and laity alike

“God does not ask us to be successful.
He only asks us to have faith!”


“We have already won the battle,
so it’s only a matter of time!”


N O N S E N S E ! ! !

God expects us to use all the grace and all the talents
that he provides, for his greater glory,
holding nothing back, and never doubting
the power and efficacy of divine providence.

Coming in “second” to the forces of evil
does nothing to enhance God’s glory,
to advance the causes of the Kingdom of God,
or to alleviate the human suffering caused by sin.

Only when we are centered in the express will of God,
fortified by his grace, and absolutely committed to doing his will,
no matter the cost, can we be absolutely assured of success.


T H I S  I S  T R U E  F A I T H .

The Apostles built the Church on faith like that.

Failure is God’s way of telling us that we do not really know him.
Not knowing God, we do instead what we think is right …
and we fail …
suffering all the bitter consequences … for nothing.

Worse than that, we might also end up in Hell!

Consistent prayer and study, along with full, active, and faithful
participation in ALL the work, worship, sacraments
and devotions of the Catholic Church
is how we typically come to know and love God,
and successfully discern his will for our life.


God is not glorified by failure … nor are we.

God provides everything we need to succeed.

God expects us to succeed. For him. Not us.

In fact, his judgment demands it!

A parable:

Matthew 25:14-30 For even as a man going into a far country called his servants and delivered to them his goods;  And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to every one according to his proper ability: and immediately he took his journey.

And he that had received the five talents went his way and traded with the same and gained other five.  And in like manner he that had received the two gained other two. But he that had received the one, going his way, digged into the earth and hid his lord’s money.

But after a long time the lord of those servants came and reckoned with them. And he that had received the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst deliver to me five talents. Behold I have gained other five over and above.  His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord. And he also that had received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst two talents to me. Behold I have gained other two. His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

But he that had received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown and gatherest where thou hast not strewed.  And being afraid, I went and hid thy talent in the earth. Behold here thou hast that which is thine.

And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not and gather where I have not strewed. Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers: and at my coming I should have received my own with usury.

Take ye away therefore the talent from him and give it him that hath ten talents. For to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound: but from him that hath not, that also which he seemeth to have shall be taken away.

And the unprofitable servant, cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the above passage, the faithful servants knew their master, they knew what their master expected of them, they put to good use the training and talents they were given, and they invested them profitably, obtaining appropriate rewards for themselves, and for their master.

The facts, in the words of Jesus Christ:

Matthew 7:14-23 How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

By their fruits you shall know them.

Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.

Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

Here, Jesus warns us of false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Having been forewarned, he expects us to be able to recognize and choose only what is good. If we fail, we might end up in hell.

That’s just the way it is. All the more reason to succeed!

Now you know what God expects. Don’t believe the nonsense, whatever the source!

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Indulgences

A number of popular devotions have indulgences attached to them. Indeed, the fact that a particular devotion has an indulgence attached to it is an indication that this devotional practice has proven itself within the Church to be helpful in bringing people closer to God. Because of the close association between popular devotions and indulgences, a clear understanding of the Church’s teaching on indulgences is necessary to appreciate the role of popular devotional practices in the life of the Church.

i. What are indulgences?

An indulgence does not confer grace. An indulgence is not a remission of the guilt due to sin. The guilt due to sin is ordinarily taken away by the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance (confession), in which we receive forgiveness for sins through Jesus Christ. Although guilt is taken away, and with it the eternal penalty that is due to sin—namely, damnation, the eternal loss of the presence of God—there remain consequences for sins that those who have committed them must bear. There is what is traditionally called the temporal punishment for sin.

By its very nature, every sin inevitably causes suffering for the one who has committed it. Every sinful act creates a disorder within the soul of the human person; it distorts our desires and affections, leaving us with “an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory.”57 Furthermore, sin disrupts one’s relationships with God, with the Church, with other people, and with the world as a whole. The communion intended by God is damaged or lost. Those who have received forgiveness for their sins still have an obligation to undergo a difficult and painful process (the temporal penalty for sin) to be purified of the consequences of their sins and to restore the disrupted relationships. “While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace.”58 The necessary and painful process that brings restoration and purification can take place either in this life or in Purgatory, as whatever part of the process remains unfinished at death must be completed in Purgatory.59

Through an indulgence, God grants the prayer of the Church that the temporal penalty for sin due to someone be reduced (or possibly eliminated). By God’s grace, participation in a prayer or action that has an indulgence attached to it brings about the necessary restoration and reparation without the suffering that would normally accompany it. The granting of an indulgence by the Church is “the expression of the Church”s full confidence of being heard by the Father when—in view of Christ’s merits and, by his gift, those of Our Lady and the saints—she asks him to mitigate or cancel the painful aspect of punishment by fostering its medicinal aspect through other channels of grace.”60

ii. How can indulgences remove some or all of the temporal punishment for sin?

It is because of the Communion of Saints that some or all of the temporal punishment for sin is removed. Although we always have to face the consequences of our sins in the form of the temporal punishment for sin—that is, the painful process of restoration and reparation—as members of the Body of Christ we are never simply on our own. We are linked with Christ and with the martyrs and saints and can benefit from their holiness in such a way as to be freed from at least a portion of the temporal punishment for sin. “In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others.”61

As a result of the communion that exists between Christ and all the members of the Church, the Church has a treasury of spiritual goods that is inexhaustible. The source of these spiritual goods is Christ. Pope Paul VI taught that this treasury of the Church

is not to be likened to a centuries-old accumulation of material wealth. It means rather the limitless and inexhaustible value that the expiations and merits offered by Christ have in the eyes of God for the liberation of all humanity from sin and for the creation of communion with the Father. The treasury of the Church is Christ the Redeemer himself: in him the atonement and merit of his redemption exist and are at work.62

Since the martyrs and saints have accomplished all that they have in union with Christ, this treasury also includes the value of all their prayers and good works. “As they followed Christ through the power of his grace, they became holy and they have accomplished a work pleasing to the Father. As a result, in working out their own salvation they have also contributed to the salvation of their co-members in Christ’s Mystical Body.”63

Through her union with Christ, the Church has the authority to dispense this treasury. When the Church does this, in order to spur people to acts of piety and charity, the Church requires those who seek an indulgence to perform some good work or act of devotion.64 Furthermore, for reception of a plenary indulgence, which grants the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin, in addition to this good work or act of devotion, the Church specifies four conditions: (1) sacramental confession, (2) reception of Holy Communion, (3) prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father, and (4) complete detachment from all sin, even venial sin.65 It must not be thought, however, that such acts of ours are somehow of themselves sufficient to earn the remission of the temporal punishment for sins. Our efforts, themselves the work of God’s grace, express our openness to receive God’s mercy. In the work of our salvation, it is always God’s grace that is primary, with a power that far exceeds all our efforts.

iii. How can we help the deceased through indulgences?

Just as it is because of the Communion of Saints within the Body of Christ that the Church can grant an indulgence to someone, it is likewise because of the Communion of Saints that one person can obtain an indulgence for someone who has died in order to reduce his or her temporal punishment in Purgatory. We the living are not separated from the faithful departed by death and can still do things for their benefit. As Pope John Paul II has pointed out, “the truth about the communion of saints which unites believers to Christ and to one another, reveals how much each of us can help others—living or dead—to become ever more intimately united with the Father in heaven.”66 At the same time, all of us in the Communion of Saints need to recognize that whatever help we can give each other ultimately comes not from ourselves but from Christ. “For when the faithful gain indulgences they realize that by their own powers they cannot atone for the evil that they have afflicted upon themselves and the entire community by sinning; they therefore are moved to a healthy humility.”67

Official Catholic Church Manual of Indulgences (PDF)